Defending Vans US Open of Surfing winner Filipe Toledo (BRA) picked up right where he left off last year and ripped his way to a 15.43 heat total. Toledo picked apart the pier bowl left with quick, powerful surfing that earned him a 7.33 before finding a right that allowed him to blast a layback forehand-gauge and then finished on a soaring rotation for an excellent 8.10. Toledo is fresh off a massive Corona Open J-Bay win and comes into Huntington wanting to defend his title despite fighting ailments heading into this event.
“I showed up three days ago and just had the craziest stomach flu and it was the worst day ever, but I’ve just recovered from that and it’s my first surf back since,” Toledo said. “It’s always good to back here after growing up surfing waves like this and my new home San Clemente has a few waves around that resemble this as well. It’s always good training and come back here trying to win my third US Open. Having my daughter changed everything, it’s a crazy feeling and has given me a new perspective on life along with such a good energy. My family just helps get rid of the pressure and I think that’s the main goal is just to have fun which I am.”
Adam Melling. Photo: WSL / Rowland
Adam Melling (AUS) put on a backhand clinic, attacking bomb sets throughout the heat that earned him an 8.00. Melling, former CT competitor, continues to show why he is one of the world’s best with his powerful approach and aggressive surfing. After last year’s Equal 9th, the 32-year-old returns with unfinished business and is off to a great start. Nat Young (USA) will join the Australian in Round 3. Bino Lopes (BRA) injured himself by hitting the Huntington Beach Pier and left the water mid-way through the heat.
“I’m excited we had some of the better sets out there hold up enough for me to get a big turn off,” Melling said. “It’s a good start to the event for me. Hopefully the swell sticks around and we can put on a good show. I was just worried because Bino [Lopes] came straight out of the whitewash after that last turn and as he looked up and the pole was there. He got sideswiped and I thought he may get caught underwater and I couldn’t even get to him because of the rip, but luckily he came out the other side and seemed okay.”
The medical staff assisted Lopes immediately following the injury, diagnosing him with a broken nose and multiple abrasions, before sending him to the hospital for further examination.
2017 CT rookie Connor O’Leary (AUS) joins top seeds Evan Geiselman (USA), Michael Dunphy (USA) and surprise threats Ian Crane (USA) and Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) in Round 3.